When I was in London for the shooting of "Kick-Ass," I got to spend a good deal of time talking with Nic Cage. It was a little weird at first, since I get the feeling he's not exactly chummy with the press, but he warmed up over the time I was there, and by the final morning, as we were all standing in a scrap metal yard watching Dexter Fletcher's life be endangered by a giant crushing machine, Cage was positively chatty.
One of the things he talked about quite a bit was the possibility of "Ghost Rider 2," and no matter what your feelings about the first one, it was obvious to me that the character of Ghost Rider was an itch that Cage still felt compelled to scratch, like he didn't just want to make another one... he needed to. He was in London, working on a different film, and he happened to walk into one of the major cathedrals there, only to realize he was interrupting a conference of cardinals. He went to slip out and someone recognized him. Next thing he knew, he was sitting up front, looking out at the assembled clergy, part of the event simply because they knew who he was. And as he sat there, he had the idea that he was excited about turning into a "Ghost Rider" sequel when we talked: what if Ghost Rider were pressed into service by the Catholic Church? What if he were made an agent of the Pope, to do all the things they can't?
I have no idea if that's the version that David Goyer is currently negotiating to write and direct. Goyer was actually on "Ghost Rider" years ago, and then left the project. I remember how much Harry Knowles always loved the Goyer drafts of the project. The article over at Variety suggests that Goyer's going back to his take on the film, but I know Cage has strong ideas about the character, too. Maybe we'll see a hybrid of creative impulses here.
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I know the first film is a mess, but the character remains one of the most visually iconic in the Marvel library, and my feeling is that this is a chance for all involved to reboot and try again. These days, I don't have the energy or the stored-up outrage to get angry about how quickly they throw out what they've done already, so I guess I'm willing to give this a try.
At the very worst, we'll get another bad movie with a guy on a motorcycle with a flaming skull head. And it's hard for me to get too angry about any film about a guy on a motorcycle with a flaming skull head.
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